First-time entrant Chow Tai Fook Jewellery has won this year's Most Popular Brandname On-line award. Established in 1929, the company is involved mainly in retail jewellery sales, although it also undertakes some wholesale jewellery business. With a history of more than 70 years, Chow Tai Fook now has about 100 branches in the SAR and the mainland, including Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, and Macau. The Hong Kong shops alone employ some 3,000 staff, says assistant executive manager Andrew Wong Kim-man. 'Of course, we are thrilled and proud to have won this award,' Mr Wong says. 'Many asked how we did it,' he says of the accolade, conceived to encourage public participation at the Hong Kong Products Expo. Chow Tai Fook decided to participate this year because of a perceived change of emphasis in the awards in recent years. In past years, the Products Expo was geared more towards industry and manufacturing, and it is only in the past two or three years that retail goods have gone on display in a significant way, Mr Wong says. Chow Tai Fook also hopes to increase public awareness of the local jewellery industry and its competitiveness, as well as its world-class standards. Visitors could vote for their favourite brand at the fair or go online. The results of the online polling were taken into account in the final judging process. Assessments were based on a company's reputation, product distinctiveness, innovation, quality, image and packaging, and environmental performance. Quality control and production costs can be strictly monitored because the company sources its own raw materials, produces its own designs, and markets its own products. The result is high quality at reasonable prices, Mr Wong says. 'Our motto is 'honesty and customer first', and we emphasise goodwill.' This is the first time Chow Tai Fook has participated in the awards, and it is probably the first time any jewellery company has done so, Mr Wong says. He believes the company won the award for three reasons: as a brand, Chow Tai Fook is well-known locally; with its long history, the company can depend on strong customer loyalty; and three, the company's corporate image is important, and it has always taken great pains to protect that image. 'We hope to participate again in these awards,' Mr Wong says. 'But winners must wait an extra year after winning before they can enter the competition again.'